| License Photo
As is usually the case for teams early in the preseason, the New England Patriots plan to sit a number of their top players in their preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.
According to a Boston Herald report, quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman are all out.
Brady would miss out an opportunity for some preseason reps ahead of a regular season in which he is suspended for the first four games due to his involvement in the Deflategate scandal.
Of the trio of sitting veterans, only Edelman is injured. He was just activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list after having left foot surgery, but he felt some numbness and pins and needles in practice Tuesday. Edelman, who caught 61 balls for 692 yards and seven touchdowns last season, did a walkthrough Wednesday before leaving practice to work on conditioning, according to the Herald.
The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gronkowski, who had 72 catches for 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, takes a beating in the regular season, so he is likely to sit out the entire preseason in an effort to keep him fresh throughout the season. That was the pattern the team followed in the 2015 preseason.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will get a chance to get ready for the first four regular-season starts of his career with some extra reps. The 2014 second-round pick is just 20-for-31 for 188 yards with a touchdown in his pro career. He only had four pass attempts last season, completing one.